Not that long ago, a Primary dive light was a primary light because of its size (large) and its large battery, and a Backup was much smaller and lower powered. Today, due to LED technology and advancements in batteries the line between Primary and Backup lights has blurred. In today’s market a small handheld light with 230 lumens and adjustable beam angle has more power (brighter) and more versatility (adjustable beam) than a light considered to be a primary light a few years ago. Today your primary light can fit in your pocket or hang on your BCD and could be used at any time as either.
Beam angle is the distance your light projects from side to side. For example the human eye sees 180 degrees, however with a mask on underwater, you are limited to at best 100 degrees. Underwater lights are designed for different diving styles and environments.
7 to 12 degrees – Cave Divers, Wreck Divers, Spot beam, or Limited Visibility Diving. The reason for a narrow or focused beam is that it will give you greater distance or range, and it will not reflect back all the sand or particles in a silt out condition like a wider beam will do.
12 – 20 degrees – Great for all types of recreational diving. This provides the diver with a strong and relatively focused beam with good distance. These lights are great for night diving or during the day to look into holes or under coral shelves.
20-75 degrees – This type of beam is usually found on a light with a head that zooms in and out, or has a wide ranging Beam Angle (example- 12 -75 degrees). These type of lights are also great for all types of recreational diving, due to their versatility of beam angle. You can use them to peek in holes with the narrow beam or to light up a wall or a turtle using the wider beam. This type of light works great for diving during the day or as your primary night diving light.
90 -140 degrees – This type of beam is generally used by photographers or videographers. When taking video or shooting pictures you need a wider beam angle to light up your subject. At this beam angle the light will not travel far so it makes it ideal for divers shooting video or photography as it floods your subject with light. Most lights with this beam angle are limited to functioning only at this angle like our Galaxy video light at 140 degrees. However with our new Fusion series of lights and new technology with our reflector lens you can now go from a narrow 12 degree beam to a wide angle beam of 100 degrees with our push pull zoom lens. Prior to this breakthrough the widest beam angle a zoom lens could achieve was 85 degrees. Due to this new technology you now can own a light that can be used for all applications or types of diving from technical to photography and videography.
Burn time is a term used for battery life. If you are using rechargeable batteries, they provide a lot of power but have a shorter burn time before they need to be recharged. Alkaline batteries like AA or AAA, provide slightly less output but provide for a longer burn time before they bun out. The advantage to using rechargeable batteries in lights that are designed to take rechargea blebatteries is greater power (more lumens) and can be used over and over. The disadvantage of rechargeable is in the cost and the burntime before recharging, this is why many divers who use rechargeable batteries carry more than one fully charged battery. With our new fusion light series, you get to choose which batteries suit you best. The lights accept both types!
Tovatec lumens (light output) are tested in accordance with the ANSI/NEMA FL-1 Standard.Lumens is a measurement of light brightness (output) vs Wattage which measures energy use. Today dive lights with LED bulbs use Lumen output to judge brightness. Other factors that effect the light brightness is beam angle and kelvin light temperature. Since most dive light companies manufacture LED dive lights between 5000 to 7000 kelvin you do not need to worry. Depending on your requirement or type of diving you plan to do is a good rule of thumb is that any light with an average beam angle between 12 degrees to 75 degrees and a lumen output of 200 or greater should work fine for any recreational diving. Lights used for photography or Videographer need to be brighter and have a wider beam angle. Again as a rule of thumb you need at least 300 – 500 lumen for shooting low light video, great for shooting with a GoPro or similar . Many more photo enthusiasts use lights from 900 lumens to over 2500 depending on their level of experience.
As a photographer or videographer your main weapon is lighting, for both above and below the waters surface. The idea is to replace natural sunlight, in its many shades or temperature ranges. The best way of illustrating why the Galaxy light is so popular with photographers and videographers is in using the Kelvin scale. The Kelvin scale explains the temperature of light. The Galaxy light burns at 5500-6000 Kelvin replicating full sunlight in the summer at all depths or any time during the day. For photographers simply turn on the Galaxy at full power and the 2500 lumen output replaces your strobe or flash with the same power output.